Sunday, May 15, 2011

Premier League Report: Chelsea 2 Newcastle 2

Chelsea conceded an injury-time equaliser in a match that could prove to be manager Carlo Ancelotti’s last at Stamford Bridge.

A late header from Steven Taylor denied Chelsea victory three minutes into injury time just when it seemed they would be handing manager Ancelotti a welcome fillip as he heads for contract talks with owner Roman Abramovich.

But in truth Newcastle deserved a point for a dogged display while Chelsea once again proved disappointing.

They couldn’t have got off to a more perfect start, scoring through Branislav Ivanovic after only two minutes. 

But Jonas Guttierez quickly equalised and even when Alex scored what looked like an 82nd minute winner it wasn’t enough.

That kind of lack of concentration has been what has cost Chelsea all season - and the result means they are not yet guaranteed to finish runners-up behind Manchester United.

The Blues, who end the season at Everton next weekend, certainly started quickly, scoring within two minutes when Frank Lampard’s corner was flicked on by Fernando Torres and turned home by defender Ivanovic. But they failed to take full advantage.

Newcastle, in fact, equalised in the 10th minute when Ryan Taylor’s long-distance free-kick was deflected into the net by Guttieriez and from that point on the visitors more than held their own.

Chelsea, who left out the likes of Michael Essien, David Luiz , Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba, struggled to find any rhythm as the game petered out.

The arrival of Drogba, Essien and Malouda after 64 minutes at least livened things up for the home team but with Torres, who has scored only one goal since signing from Liverpool for 50 million pounds, painfully quiet once more they struggled to find a goal.

It took defender Alex to score, rising high to head home a Lampard free-kick with eight minutes to go and that effort looked certain to give Chelsea victory.

But once again their defence fell asleep right at the last, leaving Taylor completely unmarked from a 93rd minute corner to score from Nile Ranger’s header back into the box.

At the end Chelsea’s players could barely look their manager in the eye as they trudged off the pitch. 

The question now is will the Stamford Bridge crowd ever see the Italian again?


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